A Texas state representative pre-filed legislation that would allow public school officials to use “traditional winter greetings” such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” on school grounds.
The “Merry Christmas Bill” would grant “the right to celebrate on school property with displays associated with those holidays, including Menorahs, Christmas trees and Nativity scenes.” State Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), the bill’s author, explained his inspiration:
“This bill originated when I picked up my first-grade son from school last year and asked him how his day went. He told me that his class had decorated their holiday tree with holiday ornaments. When I asked what a holiday tree was, he told me it was the same as a Christmas tree,” Bohac said. “After inquiring with school officials as to why the term “Holiday Tree” was being used, it became apparent that the school was fearful of litigation.”
Though Bohac wants to protect school officials from litigation, it is likely his bill would face many legal challenges were it to become law. While Christmas is a federally recognized holiday, courts have consistently banned religious displays, such as nativity scenes, on public lands.